Mission & Values

Our Mission

Breakthrough New York empowers motivated students from low-income backgrounds to graduate from college and pursue a fulfilling career.

The Need

New York City is a community that powers itself on a talented and diverse workforce. In order to harness this potential, our city needs access to high-quality and equitable education.


Employment rate for young adults with a high school degree


Employment rate for young adults with a bachelor's degree or higher

A four-year college degree is the most effective tool to climb the social and economic ladder—but access to a degree is not the same for everyone.

66% of college students in New York City graduate within 6 years. Only 33% of low-income college students graduate within 6 years.


Working age adults in the Upper East Side, Manhattan with a college degree


Working age adults in East New York, Brooklyn with a college degree

The road to college starts in middle school. Students who grow up in low-income communities are less likely to attend a high school that prepares them well for college. This specifically has a negative effect on Black and Latinx communities.

Students thrive when they enroll in enriching out-of-school activities. They are also more engaged in school when they are taught by diverse teachers and mentors. Students are then able to build intellectual, social, and leadership skills that prepare them for success as adults.


NYC population who are Black or Latinx


Students in NYC specialized high schools who are Black or Latinx

Our Core Values

We are…

Breakthrough students are powerful individuals who shape their own lives, the organization, and the world. Breakthrough New York is a place for students to celebrate their accomplishments and have their voices heard.

Committed to Social Justice

We recognize the power structures that create barriers to our lives. We work to achieve access and equity for our communities through the transformative power of education.


We value, protect, and cultivate community by empowering all individuals to be their best selves, supporting one another, and honoring the differences and connections between us. 


We always operate with honesty, integrity, and a commitment to doing what is right. We hold ourselves accountable for our impact and always put in our best effort. 

Lifelong Learners

Today we are learners; tomorrow we will lead. Learning is fun, continuous, and powerful.

All In

We show up with passion, joy and spirit. We work hard and aim high because we are deeply dedicated to changing lives and changing the world.

Breakthrough New York Supports #BlackLivesMatter

Our History

Breakthrough New York first launched in 1999 under the fiscal sponsorship of The Town School, an independent day school in Manhattan. We began as a summer program for middle school students from low-income backgrounds, focusing on reversing the “summer slide,” which is the loss of academic skills during summer vacation.

We have since evolved our model to meet the needs of New York City students and their families. Today, we support each Breakthrough New York cohort for ten years and serve students at sites in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and the Bronx.

Summerbridge launches as a middle school program at the Town School.

Breakthrough New York becomes an independent non-profit and extends to yearlong curriculum. 

Extends to a six-year program that supports students through high school graduation.

Launches first Brooklyn cohort.

Extends to a ten-year program that supports students through college graduation. 

Launches first Bronx cohort.

First ten-year cohort graduates from college!

39 Broadway, Suite 820
New York, NY 10006
[email protected]
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